Ways You Can Support Pride (and the LGBTQ community) Without Attending a Parade!
Echoing the majority of Pride parades around the world, following the corona virus outbreak, Brighton Pride was officially cancelled last week. Although it was expected, and absolutely the right thing to do, I’m heartbroken.
For us, and many other LGBTQ people, Pride is an important weekend in our calendar. It’s a time where we get to show everyone the beauty of our community and teach allies about our rich history. It’s also our community’s opportunity to once again be given a platform to not only protest on behalf of those who can’t, but feel safe in doing so. For others, Pride is the only time they can truly be themselves, after which they return to the metaphorical closet until next year.
Having to cancel Pride, regardless of reason, will always be incredibly damaging to the LGBTQ community. As well as a loss of charitable income that goes towards LGBTQ charities and organisations continuing their incredible work, you also lose that opportunity to be visible. Therefore, it’s vital that the support is continued elsewhere. Without the existence of LGBTQ charities and organisations, vulnerable members of our community are left isolated.
Thankfully, there are many ways – from the safety and comfort of your sofa – you can support the LGBTQ community and make sure that we can not only remain visible, but safe.
Ordinarily, ways you can support the LGBTQ community usually involves going outside. From attending a Pride parade or event, volunteering with organisations and charities, or supporting an LGBTQ business such as bars, clubs and cafes, however with a global pandemic in full swing it’s pretty hard to do some of these things, therefore – if you really care about the LGBTQ community – you have to think of other ways to offer support.
Thankfully, we’re in a modern age, which means we can still offer worldwide support with the help of a phone, tablet, or laptop. Sometimes, you don’t even have to spend any money! Here are a few ideas:
Support LGBTQ Business Online.
LGBTQ businesses statistically have a harder time in comparison to those outside of the LGBTQ community, often due to local prejudices and homophobia, but also because people don’t often realise that by buying from an LGBTQ business you’re doing more than putting dollar in their pockets – you’re making a statement, and that statement is worth more than the cash you’re spending.
Whether you go to the effort of scouring LinkedIn or browsing Etsy, there are endless LGBTQ businesses that need support. Of course you can’t buy from them all, but by simply sharing their work or recommending them as a suggestion to others will help them immensely.
Learn about LGBTQ History.
Starting from where it all began – whether it’s the Stonewall Riots to the work of Alan Turing – if you want to truly understand what the LGBTQ community are fighting for then you need to educate yourself on our history; past & present!
There are so many resources to choose from, too! From news outlets to blogs to books, ignorance is no longer an excuse. If you’re an ally then you should at least have a basic knowledge of LGBTQ history. A good introduction, in my opinion, would be to have a read of Rainbow Revolutions: Pride, Power and Protest.
Follow and engage with LGBTQ content creators, artists & writers.
Just like supporting LGBTQ businesses; following, engaging and sharing content created by LGBTQ creators is vital in getting our message out there. By doing so you’re placing value in people investing their time and money into our community and you’re offering our community a platform that we’re not often offered.
Challenge seasonal allyship.
As with any Pride season, for a few weeks throughout the year, businesses and brands alike change their avatars online to a fuzzy shade of rainbow. They may sell a token, with proceeds going to charity (an LGBTQ charity if we’re lucky!) and share how inclusive their workforce is by celebrating their staff. Of course, with genuine allies who work tirelessly to be inclusive, this sort of work is welcome, however an unfortunate number of brands often remove their rainbow garlands once the Pride festivities are over and their showcase of inclusion is no where to be seen.
This is not ok, and allies need to regularly challenge this. Whether it’s asking brands what percentage of proceeds from their Pride merchandise are going to charity to challenging how inclusive their marketing is – especially if it looks pretty heteronormative the rest of the year! I wrote a little something about this recently:
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Sign & share petitions.
Without regular activism, our community wouldn’t be where we are today, and it can’t halt. So many countries around the world are where the US and UK were a few decades ago (although the US appears to be going backwards somewhat!), therefore it’s incredibly important to support the work of activists by signing and/or sharing petitions. This also includes writing letters to your MP or perhaps donating to their cause.
Likewise, stay up to date with policies in your workplace and have conversations about current issues (and what you can do to help). Get involved with change if you can.
Watch and listen to LGBTQ TV, Film, and Music.
In 2017, only 14 films from major studios featured LGBTQ characters — nine less than in 2016. Thankfully, places like Netflix play a huge part in getting LGBTQ content out there, whether it’s the telling of LGBTQ stories or sharing media made by LGBTQ people, there is now a wider opportunity to view more diverse content.
Despite what people think, LGBTQ content is incredibly rich with creativity and alternative stories and narratives, and by watching content made by us you’re helping us “usualise” our community on mainstream media.
You can find a decent list of LGBTQ content here.
Keep yourself up to date with LGBTQ news.
Today’s news is tomorrow’s history, therefore diversify your news feeds and follow news outlets that share LGBTQ news. It’s very well known that global atrocities against LGBTQ people and other marginalised groups – even in the UK where laws are more pro-LGBTQ – aren’t as well reported, therefore it’s up to you to keep yourself informed.
Don’t rely on LGBTQ people to do this, either. It can be incredibly exhausting! Keep yourself informed and surprise an LGBTQ person when they start having those conversations with you. This includes people within the LGBTQ community. I’m an active Trans Ally, therefore I keep myself informed so they don’t have to.
Donate to LGBTQ charities and organisations.
As well as the above, simply donating to LGBTQ-exclusive (and I really do stress this) charities and organisations will make a huge difference towards being able to offer future support. Every penny received goes towards providing resources, paying staff (if they’re not already volunteers), press & marketing, and generally existing.
A huge majority of proceeds from Pride events goes towards supporting these organisations, however without Pride events going ahead these organisations are at a loss, and sometimes the only answer is donating straight to those organisations so that they can continue their work in the absence of Pride.
Follow LGBTQ allies and activists.
Without activists and the support of allies we wouldn’t be where we are today, and Pride will often play a huge part in their activism; from flamboyant floats sharing bold statements to petitions being passed around on clip boards, speakers sharing their stories in literary tents to videos of past and present historic events being televised before Britney Spears walking on stage, I am forever thankful to the work of activists.
But with Pride events being cancelled, activists aren’t given the opportunity to continue their work, which often sits online until Pride. Therefore, by sharing their work far and wide you’re doing the work in the absence of Pride. You’re giving them an audience they’ve been denied for so long.
Thank you for reading, if you know of any LGBTQ charities who need a shout out of assistance, tag them below! Likewise, got any LGBTQ TV show reccomendations? Any businesses that need a helping hand? Comment below!